Grant Hill: Doug Collins could make the Sixers a playoff team next year

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Thumbnail image for Dcollins.jpgGrant Hill has been around a long time and played for a lot of coaches. While Mike Breen and the ESPN crew make it sound like he was old enough to play for Red Auerbach, he’s not been around quite that long.

But he has been around long enough to play for Doug Collins in Detroit. Those were the best years of Hill’s career, those first few years out of Duke when he was an explosive All-Star with seeming unlimited potential. Before the injuries did him in.

And Hill told Philly News they hired the right man. (via Slam)

“The Sixers are getting a coach who puts every ounce of his energy into making the team better,” said Hill…. “With Doug, they’ll be prepared, they’ll be in great shape. He’s an unbelievable motivator. He’ll get them to play. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re a playoff team next year.

“My experience is, when you haven’t made the playoffs there are issues, problems. Doug works to change the culture. I was with Dumars, Houston, Lindsey Hunter, Theo Ratliff, Michael Curry, Aaron McKie in Detroit. We grew up together. We all learned a lot; we all had long careers. Some of us are in coaching, some are still playing, some are working in the front office. The point is, Doug teaches you to be a professional.

“I had had some success at Duke, then won 28 games as a rookie. I found out that you can learn how to lose. Doug breaks you of that, demanding a lot from the players and from himself. He has an ability to communicate and to teach.”

The Sixers need a new culture, they need to learn how to win. This could be a good hire.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.